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2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

SLO Food Bank

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Coronavirus Relief Food Banks, Food, Food Banks & Pantries, Nutrition

Mission: The mission of the Food Bank Coalition is to work with a network of community partners to alleviate hunger in San Luis Obispo County and build a healthier community.

Results: We are distributing relief food to over 30,000 individuals a month. This is done at our 80 monthly distributions, our Children's Farmers Markets, our Senior Farmers Markets, our Harvest Bags, Summer Breakfast Bags and through our 90+ non profit agency partners. Our GleanSLO program has rescued 89,747 lbs of fresh produce in the first half of 2019. They did this with 216 volunteers donating over 1,000 hours of time. These numbers will increase drastically during the summer months. GleanSLO rescued 231,200 lbs of produce in 2018.

Target demographics: We alleviate hunger for the 46,000 residents who are food insecure in San Luis Obispo County.

Direct beneficiaries per year: We distribute approximately 5 million pounds of free and/or low-cost food to individuals and households directly and through redistributing agencies.

Geographic areas served: San Luis Obispo County

Programs: BREAKFAST BAGS Breakfast Bags help close the summer hunger gap for children whose families rely on access to free meals during the school year. Each bag provides multiple weeks’ worth of nutritious breakfast food and also includes bilingual nutritional handouts, recipes, cooking recommendations, fun activities, and healthy eating practices (summer only program). NEIGHBORHOOD FOOD DISTRIBUTIONS Neighborhood Food Distributions are free to income eligible participants, are open to the public, and are located in every community in San Luis Obispo County. With the help of many committed volunteers and community partners, we operate 85 distributions per month at 60 locations. At these sites, participants received a bag of pantry food and fresh produce, an average of 35lbs of food per household. For more details about these sites, check out our Calendar & Resource List on our website: www.slofoodbank.org SENIOR FARMERS MARKETS (Postponed until further notice due to COVID-19) Senior Farmers Markets connect low-income seniors living in community housing complexes with fresh produce right where they live. Fresh fruits and vegetables are delivered each month to a common area on site that is easily accessible to residents. Participants are welcome to take what they need for free, adding nutritious food to their diet as well as offsetting food costs in their budget. CHILDREN’S FARMERS MARKET (Postponed until further notice due to COVID-19) Children’s Farmers Markets improve the nutrition of low-income children and families by combining excitement around good food, nutrition education, community building, and volunteerism. At a CFM, tables are piled high with different types of seasonal fruits and vegetables. Each child receives a bag to fill and “purchases” the produce with play money. Children go home with up to 15 pounds of fresh produce, which has been gleaned free of charge from local farms, orchards, and yards or purchased through the California food bank network. NUTRITION EDUCATION Nutrition Education is an integral part of we do. We have developed a progressive nutrition policy, which governs the type and quality of food we distribute in our community. We offer education and training to our partners, and also train community volunteers to provide behavior-focused, evidence-based nutrition education for participants at Neighborhood Food Distributions, Children’s Farmers Markets, and Senior Farmers Markets sites throughout the county. In an effort to make healthy food accessible to those who need it most in our community, each year we strive to make 50% of the food we distribute fresh fruits and vegetables. CALFRESH CalFresh (formerly known as food stamps) is a federally-funded nutrition assistance program that allows participants to buy food using an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card at grocery stores, neighborhood stores, and farmers markets. CalFresh dollars help stretch a tight food budget and allow participants to incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, beans, whole grains, and dairy products into their diets. Through our outreach at sites countywide, we provide information and assistance to individuals interested in signing up for CalFresh benefits. GLEANSLO GleanSLO is a volunteer-driven program which rescues produce from local growers that would otherwise go to waste and makes it available to those in need. Once harvested, the high quality, locally grown produce is distributed through our Neighborhood Food Distribution and Farmers Market Programs. Since 2010, GleanSLO has rescued over 1 million pounds of produce in San Luis Obispo County. GROCERY RESCUE To avoid wasting food, Feeding America and its network of food banks and participating grocery stores across the country work to recover edible food removed from grocery store shelves and put it into the hands of families and individuals who are in need, redirecting billions of pounds of safe food nationwide each year. We participate in this effort by rescuing product from an average of fifteen local grocery stores each week. The rescued food is brought back to our warehouse, sorted, and is then sent out to Neighborhood Distribution sites and is also made available to our partner agencies.

Community Stories

42 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Board Member

Rating: 5

I personally have been a volunteer at the Food Bank and have had the privilege to bring volunteer groups as well. My volunteer experiences are what inspired me to pursue the opportunity to make a more significant contribution which in turn led to me joining the Board. Volunteering in the warehouse helped me better understand the needs and the amount of food insecure individuals in the County. The humble dedication of the staff and volunteers is contagious and has changed my priorities for how I help others. The work that is done by the Food Bank is essential and manner in which it is done is exemplary!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The SLO Food Bank is a critical origination for our County's residents. They have led the effort to ensure not only those with food insecurity get fed, but also those unable to leave the home due to COVID-19 risks. I don't know what we'd do with them!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The SLO Food Bank is an outstanding and well-managed organization that takes great pride in providing nutritious and healthy food to hungry families, children and seniors. The entire staff is well trained, super friendly and clearly passionate about meeting the needs of the community in San Luis Obispo County, as shown even more recently by their unparalleled response to the pandemic. This Food Bank has stepped up and met these challenges even with the cancellation of significant food drives this year. As a longtime volunteer, it has been a privilege and joy to be involved with such a great organization that makes a huge impact in our community every day.

Betian W.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Since the start of the pandemic, never once has anyone who has come to the Paso Robles Housing Authority for food gone without. Thanks to the SLO Food Bank, as our number of requests went up, we have been able to meet the need. When our numbers doubled, the SLO Food Bank said, "No problem." They are helpful, gracious, and proactive.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We are so lucky to have the SLO Food Bank, their staff and Board serving our community!

JohnandBrooke

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We cannot think of a more valuable resource to our community than the SLO Food Bank. It is the most efficient way imaginable to provide struggling families with their most immediate need. And as a result of the pandemic the need has multiplied. The Food Bank is meeting this challenge and continues to turn volunteer time and donor contributions directly into food for those who need it. No hype, no waste, they just get the job done. Amazing!
The SLO Food Bank deserves all the help and support we can afford to give.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SLO Food Bank is committed to serving those in need in our community through innovative avenues of outreach. My favorite program is Glean SLO. Food should not be wasted if it’s able to be harvested and distributed. I love that SFB connects growers, volunteers, and families.

Donor

Rating: 5

SLO Food bank is an instrumental partner in providing food security to thousands of SLO County residents. This is done in the most beneficial manner with a focused outcome of helping those in need when needed most. Their COVID response has been nothing but exceptional and their new leadership truly embraces the ideals of a community non-profit. We are thankful and a better community to have them.

1 Ellen C.8

Board Member

Rating: 5

The team at the SLO Food Bank, from the CEO to the staff and volunteers have stepped up during these unprecedented times to meet the drastically increasing needs of our community during the pandemic. Transparency and 100% commitment to the core values of the organization are unparalleled. San Luis Obispo County is fortunate to have the SLO Food Bank to serve our community.

1 RHUNGERF

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been involved with this organization for almost 6 years as a donor and a board member. My wife has volunteered for food distributions in Paso Robles. As my term on the board nears it end I am quite happy with the continued growth of the organization in serving the food needs of people who don't have enough money to make it through each month. This year has been a significant challenge with the need for food exploding. I am very impressed with the manner that the SLO Food Bank has met this challenge.

Several years ago while on a sportfishing boat out of Morro Bay I was chatting with a deck hand and mentioned that I was involved with the SLO Food Bank. He stated that he was very familiar with it as his job was only spring summer and fall and the SLO Food Bank was how he made it through the winter when there was no work.

As I am term out of board in December I will continue as a donor for the SLO Food Bank.

Previous Stories
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Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a Board Member of this charity for 3 1/2 years. Our new warehouse allows us to feed the hungry throughout the entire county of San Luis Obispo. We support over 90 agencies, such as food pantries, as well as doing direct food distribution from our fleet of trucks.

We provide this food for children and seniors and those in between. Some of these people are working poor that are employed but still cannot afford housing and healthy food. We make a difference to these people as we provide healthy food including fresh fruit and vegetables.

I am proud to support the Food Bank with my own donations. It is a fine organization and well worth your donations.

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1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered at a Food Bank prior to moving to the San Luis Obispo area. It was such a fulfilling experience that I immediately contacted the SLO Food Bank and was warmly welcomed.
I am impressed at how well they use volunteers - each person is respected and feels like they are directly contributing to the Food Banks Mission of assisting in alleviating hunger in San Luis Obispo County.. Their extensive food partnership, local and state wide. insures that a wholesome supply of food is available even in these times of greater need.
Working there is also a great study in intake, sorting, packaging and distribution - a true end to end process that is managed by dedicated staff who understand the meaning of giving back

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering in the SLO County Food Bank warehouse for two years. I absolutely love the work and the people. The food bank staff are always kind and encouraging towards volunteers. The other volunteers are very caring and hard-working. In the warehouse we prepare food orders that go out to the various distribution sites. It's very satisfying and busy work.

I am passionate about the food bank’s mission. There are many wonderful non-profits in San Luis Obispo County that offer volunteering opportunities. I’ve chosen the Food Bank because I think alleviating hunger is the most basic form of charity. Every human being deserves to have enough food and to be treated with dignity.

-Susie R

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Food Bank serves 30,000 people/month, so they rock! They could feed even more by spreading the word even more widely about their services.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Everyone was really nice and very helpful when we had questions! I'm excited to work here again :)

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Everything is well.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

They are very nice to the volunteers and clear with what they want us to do. They are helping the slo community out a lot!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great customer service. Had an awesome time helping out, the employees were so nice. The process went very smoothly. And it was an overall great experience!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

the food bank is extremely helpful and the staff on site is very warm and welcoming and helps with all of your questions and needs. the instructions are clear and i couldn't ask for more

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The nonprofit does a great job of having friendly employees and are great at encouraging us to volunteer! The work is easy and fun in this environment.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

They can improve by being the best that they can be this is a good nonprofit organization

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

A professional organization that helps 30,000 people a month have healthy food- Half is fresh produce donated from local farmers! Everyone should have access to food.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

It is amazing to see how many charitable people in our community support the food bank either through volunteer hours or monetary donations. The Food Bank Coalition of SLO County brings healthy food to people in every corner of the county. They even go to CA Valley which is a food desert- no grocery stores. This food is an important safety net for people who are making low wages and paying high rents.

Dlmajor

Board Member

Rating: 5

The whole FOOD BANK concept is a winner for the community...a place to secure and store food for all the local non profits and churchs to distribute. OUR local FOOD BANK is a modal for unity, fairness and inovation in ENDING HUNGER.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a volunteer and board member for almost 20 years I am always amazed at the efficient model of Food Banks...to collect and store food, to be a "supermarket" for local non profits who reach out to end local food insecurity. You should be assured that our local SLO Food Bank, now in its new warehouse, is one of the best rule organization I know of. You can trust that your donation will be used and leveraged to meet our mission to end local hunger. Come and see! Your welcome to come and carefully evaluate our programs as you decide where to volunteer or donate locally.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

They make their volunteers feel valued and welcome. They have lots of work for us and are always open to ideas. Great folks doing important work!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

They work efficiently and with smiles. They have great organization and ensure that everyone is well fed.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Absolutely committed to their mission and to the betterment of the community. Great supportive partner.

Donor

Rating: 5

They are serving large numbers at low cost. More public information about some of their lesser known activities.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Slo food bank does an amazing job of providing clients with fresh produce. I have volunteered for several years with GleanSlo which harvests backyard and farm produce for local families. They are incredibly organized and have a diverse base of volunteers including kids, high school and college students, stay at home parents and retirees.

Donor

Rating: 5

The Food Bank coalition does a fantastic job of providing food to underserved families in our community. In addition, they provide edu pride to both recipients and volunteers. Best of all, they keep their organization costs minimal so money goes where it is needed.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering with the SLO Food Bank is fantastic. They are so well organized that you know the time you are volunteering is making a meaningful impact. They are super with both adult aychild volunteers. I highly recommend this wonderful organization!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

The fact that 30,000 people receive supplemental food each month motivates me to give. The fact that over half is fresh produce keeps me giving. Excellent staff and mission.

Board Member

Rating: 5

What a great organization and a great cause! I recently took a tour of the new San Luis Obispo food distribution facility and offices. Everyone in San Luis Obispo county should be proud of such a first rate facility and staff. What better cause than to feed the hungry in our community. I would advocate for anyone wanting to make a difference in our community to contact the Food Bank. Joe Simonin

Board Member

Rating: 5

An essence of life is healthy food! The SLO County Food Bank provides such a commodity to the most vulnerable members of our community. A dollar donation is converted to over $ 10 dollars in healthy and nutritious food that helps alleviate hunger in San Luis Obispo County.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Hello, my name is Paula and I am a Volunteer at the Food Bank. I work at the front desk, so there is filing, phone answering and just in general meet and greeting of other volunteers and employees. I work directly with Malinda...what a joy this gal is! The knowledge and compassion that she has of this organization is amazing, such a delight. Also working along side Caroline,our Community Outreach/Volunteer Coordinator, watching and listening to her interact with the other volunteers face to face or setting up programs on the phone is truly a young women who enjoys what she does and smiles all the way thru it! This non-profit is more than I ever thought, this is a all round 'Community Gathering' of helping and being there for all people in San Luis Obispo County...BRAVO to this organization!

Wendy174

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am proud to say I have been working at the Food Bank for over 9 years. It's an amazing organization with the most incredible team and volunteers. No one should go hungry and the SLO County Food Bank is working tirelessly to make sure everyone has access to nutritious food!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have worked for the Food Bank Coalition for over a year and a half. I am so thankful to have a job that everyday is working to benefit children, seniors, families, and individuals, that are food insecure in our community. This is done by an incredible staff that make coming to work each day a joy, thousands of dedicated volunteers, and supportive community partners who believe in our organization's mission. Being able to say that you truly love what you do each day is something that I am so fortunate to be able to feel each and everyday. Our organization is a true non-profit, doing good honest work for others in need.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have had the honor to work with and for the Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County.
My husband and I first began working with the Food Bank when we planted a few extra rows of produce indenting to donate the extra crop to the Food Bank. We loved knowing our produce was going to residents in our county who had a hard time putting food on the table. The Food Bank invited us to participate and witness a Children's Farmers Market, allowing us to see directly where the produce was going.

I have worked for the Food Bank for a little less than a year now and I am continuously impressed at the heart and soul this company has.
Every employee has the same committed to feeding our community, it is a wonderful and inspiring workplace.

1 Malinda3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have had the honor of working at the Food Bank for over 5 years now. From start to finish, even after all this time, I am amazed at the process of getting food in and out of our warehouse and to families that are in need.

2 Melissa352

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am very proud to be part of such a wonderful cause. It is extremely rewarding to see the direct impact we have on those we serve. Also, it's great to see that nutrition is the top priority.